In terms of counter-terrorism cooperation, will the U.S. Department of Defense and the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) part ways?
According to CNN and The New York Times on the 10th, the U.S. Department of Defense is planning to withdraw most of the military support it previously provided to the CIA’s counter-terrorism operations by January 5 next year.
A spokesman for the U.S. Department of Defense said that the Department of Defense’s adjustment of resource allocation is to coincide with the U.S. national defense strategy of “great power competition”.
Acting U.S. Defense Secretary Miller has written to CIA Director Haspel this week, according to two sources.
A U.S. government official told CNN that Miller said in a letter that the Department of Defense was considering updating the memorandum of cooperation with the CIA and asked the CIA to respond by January 5. The government official said that this was the first time since 2005.
According to the New York Times, according to the various plans considered by the Ministry of Defense, the CIA may return military equipment, including most of the Predator drones to the Ministry of Defense; the Pentagon will reduce the number of personnel stationed in the CIA; and the CIA’s use of military bases will also be restricted.
The report described that the move of the U.S. Department of Defense will significantly make it more difficult for the CIA to carry out its mission in hot spots around the world.
Although the CIA can use its own paramilitary forces to carry out anti-terrorism operations, the CIA usually relies on a wide range of support from the U.S. military, including air transportation, logistics and medical evacuation, when performing secret missions.
In addition, the U.S. military often sends special forces to the CIA Special Task Center to carry out secret missions that the U.S. government does not want to disclose.
One former government official said that these military personnel stationed in the CIA are under the jurisdiction of the CIA, like “permanent residents” who often carry out tasks with local troops in Afghanistan and other places.
“Imagine how much extra resources they would have to spend if the CIA lost the support of the Ministry of Defense!” A former military official said.
According to the Defense One website, the decision of the Ministry of Defense was vigorously promoted by the Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Affairs, Ezra Cohen-Watnick, who himself is loyal to Trump.
Real possession. CNN described the move as another major policy adjustment for the Trump administration after the election. Some former CIA officials believe that this is Trump’s last attempt to weaken the CIA.
In the view of some Pentagon officials, the CIA has obtained too many military assets, and the Ministry of Defense hopes to use this move to gain a greater say in the distribution of these military assets.
There are also some critics who believe that the move of the U.S. Department of Defense undermines the national security of the United States.” This marks a setback in the security of the United States.” Michael Mulroy, a former senior Middle East policy official at the Pentagon, said that over the past decade or so, it has been the team relationship between the U.S. military and the CIA that has enabled the United States to achieve some great success in the global war on terror in Afghanistan, Iraq and other areas.
In response to the news, U.S. Defense Department spokesman Urah Orland issued a statement on Thursday. Although he did not confirm the news, it was revealed that the U.S. Department of Defense is indeed adjusting resources.
In early 2018, then U.S. Defense Secretary Mattis released the National Defense Strategy report, which made great power competition a “primary concern”, and counter-terrorism was no longer the focus. In a statement, Orland said that the attention of the U.S. military will shift from the Middle East to competitors such as Russia and China, and cooperation with the CIA should also be in line with the defense strategy of the United States.
“In order to cooperate with the transformation of the U.S. defense strategy to great power competition in 2018 and better shoulder its responsibilities, the Department of Defense has begun to optimize and adjust the allocation of resources.” “A lot of changes have taken place in the first two decades of this century, and the cooperation between the Department of Defense and the CIA should ensure that both sides can meet the national security challenges facing the United States,” Orland said.
CIA spokesman Nicole de Haay told CNN that “there is no stronger or better partnership than the Ministry of Defense and the CIA”. DeHaj believes that the partnership between the two sides has significantly guaranteed the national security of the United States.” We are confident that the CIA and the Department of Defense will continue to maintain this close cooperation in the coming years.”
After this year’s election, Trump has taken action in the field of defense several times. In addition to the personnel “great blood change” of the Department of Defense, Trump is also pushing for a major withdrawal before Biden’s “inauguration”.
Following the announcement by the U.S. Department of Defense in November to reduce the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, Trump ordered the withdrawal of most U.S. troops from Somalia in early 2021, some of them from East Africa and some to Somalia’s neighbors. But Trump stressed that the United States will not leave Africa and will not change its policies.